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Breaking News: Obama unveils $500 million gun violence package

  • President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President  Joe Biden, and children who wrote the president about gun violence following last month's shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., signs executive orders to reduce gun violence, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington. From left are: Biden Hinna Zeejah, 8, and Nadia Zeejah, Hinna’s mother, Taejah Goode, 10, and Kimberly Graves, Taejah’s mother, Julia Stokes, 11, and Dr. Theophil Stokes, Julia’s father, and Grant Fritz, 8, (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, and children who wrote the president about gun violence following last month's shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., signs executive orders to reduce gun violence, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington. From left are: Biden Hinna Zeejah, 8, and Nadia Zeejah, Hinna’s mother, Taejah Goode, 10, and Kimberly Graves, Taejah’s mother, Julia Stokes, 11, and Dr. Theophil Stokes, Julia’s father, and Grant Fritz, 8, (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President  Joe Biden, talks about proposals to reduce gun violence, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, talks about proposals to reduce gun violence, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, left, hugs eight-year-old letter writer Grant Fritz during a news conference on proposals to reduce gun violence, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington. Obama and Biden were joined by law enforcement officials, lawmakers and children who wrote the president about gun violence following the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., last month. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, left, hugs eight-year-old letter writer Grant Fritz during a news conference on proposals to reduce gun violence, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington. Obama and Biden were joined by law enforcement officials, lawmakers and children who wrote the president about gun violence following the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., last month. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

  • President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President  Joe Biden, and children who wrote the president about gun violence following last month's shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., signs executive orders to reduce gun violence, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington. From left are: Biden Hinna Zeejah, 8, and Nadia Zeejah, Hinna’s mother, Taejah Goode, 10, and Kimberly Graves, Taejah’s mother, Julia Stokes, 11, and Dr. Theophil Stokes, Julia’s father, and Grant Fritz, 8, (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
  • President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President  Joe Biden, talks about proposals to reduce gun violence, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
  • President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, left, hugs eight-year-old letter writer Grant Fritz during a news conference on proposals to reduce gun violence, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington. Obama and Biden were joined by law enforcement officials, lawmakers and children who wrote the president about gun violence following the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., last month. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Braced for a fight, President Obama today unveiled the most sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence in two decades, pressing a reluctant Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

A month after that horrific massacre, Obama also used his presidential powers to enact 23 measures that don’t require the backing of lawmakers. The president’s executive actions include ordering federal agencies to make more data available for background checks, appointing a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and directing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence.

But the president, speaking at White House ceremony, acknowledged the most effective actions must be taken by lawmakers.

“To make a real and lasting difference, Congress must act,” Obama said. “And Congress must act soon.”

Obama vowed to use “whatever weight this office holds” to press lawmakers into action on his $500 million plan. Still, even supportive lawmakers say the president’s proposals – most of which are opposed by the powerful National Rifle Association – face long odds on Capitol Hill.

The president was flanked by children who wrote him letters about gun violence in the weeks following the Newtown shooting. Families of those killed in the massacre, as well as survivors of the shooting, were also in the audience, along with law enforcement officers and congressional lawmakers.

“This is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe,” Obama said. “This is how we will be judged.”

The president based his proposals on recommendations from an administration-wide task force led by Vice President Joe Biden. His plan marks the most comprehensive effort to address gun violence in more than two-decades.

The president is asking Congress to renew the ban on high-grade, military-style assault weapons that was first signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994 but expired in 2004.

Other measures before Congress include limiting high-capacity ammunition magazines and requiring background checks for all gun buyers in an attempt to close the so-called “gun-show loophole” that allows people to buy guns at trade shows and over the Internet without submitting to background checks.

Obama also intends to seek confirmation for Todd Jones, who has served as acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives since 2011.

The president’s long list of executive orders includes:

∎ Ordering tougher penalties for people who lie on background checks and requiring federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

∎ Ending limits that make it more difficult for the government to research gun violence, such as gathering data on guns that fall into criminal hands.

∎ Requiring federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

∎ Giving schools flexibility to use federal grant money to improve school safety, such as by hiring school resource officers.

∎ Giving communities grants to institute programs to keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them.

Legacy Comments19

Quite a few of the Dems up for re election come from gun culture states. Will be very eye opening to see if those folks back the President or put their careers a head of agreeing with him. Even Reid comes from a gun culture state. My guess is that the Dems from those states will be the ones that keep the ban from passing. Any bets?

Reply to It(')saRepublic: Nice meaningless rant. GHWB and Clinton both banned certain assault weapons by issuing executive orders - no talk of impeachment over it then that I recall. PS: Re Grant Bosse's 1/14 "cartoon" and your insulting comment "The cartoon of Hassan......makes her look better than she really does" - no apology to Governor Hassan?

I searched below and could not find any reference to impeachment (although it is foremost in my thoughts on a daily basis as he steals our freedoms, the demagogue that he is). No apology, with all that money, it seems as if some improvements could be made.

Check the thread Jvalley wrote: 01/16/2013 ... "if BHO does choose to use executive privilege to move his agenda... to impeach him". "No apology" - So you think it's ok to make derogatory comments about someone's personal appearance? How about if someone has a different skin color - ok to make offensive comments then too? And what does "money" have to do with making an insulting comment about how the Governor looks?

Reply to RabbitNH (for some reason there was no "Reply to this comment" after your comment): Re HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, I have always just thrown the privacy act mail away - it all seemed like a waste of trees, but I assumed there was a reason for it. Now I guess they are trying to make some decisions about releasing mental health and drug records for use in background checks. The mass killings are terrible, so I hope the experts on HIPAA (definitely not me) will come with some logical conclusions on releasing information that would be helpful in keeping guns out of the hands of mentally unstable people while keeping all the background information confidential.

I guess you did not get the memo Itsa. If you disagree with the left you will to be accused of being mean, heartless, greedy, etc. It is the memo they got from their leader. Destroy, conquer and divide. The idea that anybody could disagree with a Liberal is downright Anti American or should I say Anti European.

You're welcome to disagree, but on a rational basis. People are enttitled to their opinions, but not their own facts. Too often, some posters on here are getting their "facts" from far-right sources for whom fairness and accuracy are foreign concepts. Earthling supports his opinions with facts--for instance on the issue of taxes and spending and the source(s) of our deficit. Your side dismisses his points w/o ever dealing substantively with them--on the old Monitor site (RIP), you could look it up. Itsa, for one, is in no position to complain about "name-calling", given his frequent use of the practice--generally as a red herring when he can't muster facts to support his opinions. Recently, he responded with "Bingo!" to one of Van's posts calling Obama "elitist...dog-eater...communist...." I rest my case.

Totally agree HD. Another instance of a show with the signing and a bandaid on a huge wound. Frustrating. Why are politicians so freaken stupid? Nothing gets fixed. All about pleasing your supporters who give you donations. We can thank ourselves for not demanding better people to run our govt. And for not being informed citizens about what is going on in Washington.

There are three parts to the problem: mental health, our violent culture, and guns. The President, predictably, paid lip service to the mental health and violent culture pieces by saying that they will "study" them, yet offered almost no substantive legislation in these areas. Not surprising since these two coalitions are some of his biggest supporters and donors. No, he saved all his legislative efforts for the GUN piece. None of the legislation he proposed would've stopped the Sandy Hook massacre since the guns used were purchased by Mary Lanza, a person who underwent background checks to get them, and they were in her possession in her private residence until they were confiscated by her mentally ill son. I agree with closing the gun show loophole, stricter background checks, and tougher measures for violators of gun laws and to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. But banning "assault weaons" when virtually no one who's for banning knows what one is, or banning 30 round mags, when killers will just use 3, ten-round mags instead, will do absolutely nothing to protect anyone.

Nothing:2

Dan, I completly agree with you. However, you can argue for, they will argue against, and noone will meet in the middle, regardless of unadulterated facts. I truly hope that those making the threat will make good on it, if BHO does choose to use executive privilege to move his agenda... to impeach him. He was careful in his first term not to broach gun control. Many knew it was on his radar, given his 'background' in Illinois who hold very strict gun control laws at present. Now he has a back door and is capitalizing on the fear factor to protect our children, to further his communistic agenda. It's sad to say, but I fear we have a communist in the white house.

The Republican mantra - Voter control yes, gun control no.

Voter Control? Last time I checked voters could vote for who they wanted to vote for with a ballot. But then again if you referring to the idea of making voting fraud proof by requiring folks to have an ID then I guess you could term that voter control. Most Reps are fine with banning certain weapons and better background checks. The problem is that Libs do not want want who have a mental illness or have had substance abuse issue reported in background checks. They feel that disclosing that someone has mental issues stigmatizes them.

"noone will meet in the middle", as if the Teapublicans have met in the middle on anything. I'm sure glad we don't have the vulture capitalist outsourcer (to "communist" China) "in the white house". Meanwhile the Koch-backed NRA leadership "is capitalizing on the fear factor to" increase gun manufacturer profits, and attempt to buy votes, at the expense of children murdered by idiots who have easy access to assault WMD, thanks mostly to the right wing loudmouth gun slinging smoke blowing 2nd amendment remedies extremists. Hopefully they'll keep turning up the volume and turn out more Dems in 2 years to do what Ronald Reagan favored: ban the sale of assault weapons.

NRA, Koch Brothers, Teapublicans, capitalist outsourcer, buy votes, idiots, loudmouth gun slinging, extremists and of course Ronald Reagan. Copy and paste, it is easier than coming up with the same post every day. Very positive by the way. Such respect for your fellow citizens who do have a right to not view things your way, by the way.

Just curious earthling, what do you think of HIPAA that prevents the releasing of mental and substance abuse records of patients in background checks?

Dan, I don't agree that banning "assault weapons" and 30 round magazines will "do absolutely nothing to protect anyone." If Adam Lanza had been armed with a pistol or bolt action rifle instead of a Bushmaster, he would not have been able to kill as many people as quickly as he did. What legitimate role does the Bushmaster have in self-protection or in hunting? What legitimate function does a 30 round magazine have in either area? It's my understanding that gun manufacturers exploited loopholes in the assault weapons ban--such as removing pistol grip stocks, to enable guns like the Bushmaster to be sold. IMO, such weapons-designed only to kill efficiently, have no place in civilian (and civilized) society. I await your response with keen interest.

President Clinton's Gun ban was a very poorly written law. It did nothing. Those loopholes you talk about Bruce were there because the focus on the guns was cosmetic that were written in the law. The Dems felt down the road that quite a few Dems lost because of that gun ban and that even Al Gore lost because of it. Bush was for the gun ban by the way. Dems decided to avoid the gun control issue. Just likes Reps avoid the abortion issue. The bottom line is that ban did nothing to stop killings. The law was poorly written just like this new proposal that gives lip service to mental health areas and video games. When you have a President get up there and state that Reps will gin up fear and do everything in their power to block common sense gun control and make sure nothing ever changes, we have a problem. He also insiuated that the gun ban lapse was the Reps fault not his own party. He hs no intention of fixing anything. He is all about his agenda.

Other than the fact my name is mentioned, I don't see the relevance in your post to my questions directed to Hunter Dan. If giving you yet another opportunity to go off on Obama makes you feel better, then so be it. Maybe you should change your handle to "Rabbit One-Note" though.

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